Drug Court Fiasco …. One simple case

Goliath learned that the Clark County Drug Court Nightmare continues…. Today,  a fellow came up in Circuit Court.  The State had moved to revoke him from drug court.  It means a likely life sentence. 

“A”  has been an addict since he was 14.  Today he is 63.  About 3 years ago he got caught selling drugs. From all appearances it was strictly to support his habit. (He certainly doesn’t have any swag or money.)  He was a typical addict for whom the drug court was designed.  Because the sale was within 1000 feet of a “protected” area (like a school, park or apartment building) the class of felony was bumped up to an A felony with 20 to 50 years in prison as the sentence.

Back in the summer of 2013,  “A” pleaded guilty to the charge under a 35 year plea agreement….but, with the proviso that he enter drug court.  That was a good deal if he could live up to it. It meant after a year or two…if he succeeded,  the case and the sentence would be dismissed.  But it didn’t work out that way.  By late fall of that same year he tested positive on a drug screen.  That earned him a 72 hour warning in jail.  Thereafter,  it was a series of weeks of compliance and sobriety interrupted by relapse and positive drug screens.  By March 13, 2014 “A” showed up for drug court and was found to be ‘in compliance’.

Then, something happened.  Two weeks later “A” didn’t show.  A warrant was issued. “A” was on the lam until Christmas 2014.  He was back in custody and the State gave up.  They filed the petition with the court to terminate him from the drug court and send him to prison under his 30 year plea agreement.

Now,  Goliath understands.  At some point you gotta draw a line….but think of it….unless something happens….this sad fellow is going away at age 63 quite likely for a 30 year sentence. Since he was sentenced under the old law,  “A” would have to serve 15 years of actual time before he might make parole.  He would be 78 years old…if he makes it.

To add to the irony, consider that if his crime had been committed today…it would probably be a level 4 felony. If convicted of that…the advisory sentence would be 9 years.  Imagine…instead of facing up to 50…he had faced only 9.  The truth is it would probably be handled as a level 3 and only a 6 year term.  3 years or so real time.

Look,  Goliath doesn’t know “A” and got nothing at stake in this case except what anyone else does. But it sure seems like we would all be better served if this obvious miscarriage of the justice of the Drug Court was avoided.  ….Somehow.